One of the benefits of Age and Wisdom is Experience. It is the accumulation of a lifetime of experiences that provides us with guidelines on how we should proceed in the future. We all carry the weight of our experiences, and it is up to us to determine when to listen to those experiences when we make our decisions now.
I have come through some incredibly difficult financial troubles over the past several years. These were the result of bad decisions on a personal and professional level that left me with a mountain of debt. Only a concentrated and disciplined approach allowed me to get things back under control. Now, it is up to me to remember what I have gone through when making decisions about my present and my future.
Why do we seem to insist on making Experience our best teacher? It is because we all make mistakes. We are all human and subject to the foibles and imperfections that go along with this condition. When we are young, we believe that we are going to be the person that changes everything, and that to some degree that we are invulnerable to the mistakes that others have made. We will observe our parents and see things that we admire and things that we dislike or despise. We swear to ourselves that we will not make the same mistakes. Fast forward a few years and we find that we have usually flirted with or crashed right through those same mistakes ourselves.
As I have emerged from the avalanche of debt, I have struggled to maintain the discipline that got me out of trouble. For the most part, I have succeeded, although there are times when I find myself ready to make decisions that directly contradict that discipline. I find myself trying to rationalize why I should allow myself a bit of flexibility since things are better. This is the danger zone.
Recently, I had to make some necessary tech upgrades in order to be able to work from home more often. Although the decision seemed rather straightforward, i analyzed it completely before moving ahead with those plans. It did involve spending some money to prepare the computer area in the apartment. Eventually, I decided that it was worth the cost in the short term to provide me with relief from an unpleasant office environment and that the costs would be offset rather quickly by the savings on transportation. The point is that I continued to follow the discipline that had improved my situation in the first place. Experience taught me that I did not have to spend a lot of money to make the situation workable to telecommute. In the past, I would have wanted completely new this and that in order to make the place as much like the office as possible. Scrutiny allowed me to see that I could accomplish things at a fraction of the cost and do well.
With that episode behind me, I knew that I had not placed myself in jeopardy as I pay off my remaining debt. But then, the voices inside my head started talking to me again. When I was making the few purchases for the telecommuting project, I saw that Apple MacBook Air laptops were on sale. These are the unsold 2014 versions that are being cleared out in order for Apple to make more money by selling the new MacBook Air laptops. Corporate America on full greedy display.
I have had an iMac for years, and I would never consider anything else for my main home computer. Through the years, I have wanted a MacBook Air for myself, but the cost was always too prohibitive. I learned to do with a Chromebook, and I have been very happy with the results over the years. In fact, I am composing this blog entry, like all of the rest, on my Chromebook. I found myself trying to justify making a trip back to the computer store just to "look" at the on-sale MacBook Air laptops.
This is when I realized that I was getting myself into trouble. I had to clear my head of the desire to get the MacBook Air and return to listening to the voice that had gotten me out of financial trouble. I quickly realized that I had no business getting a new laptop. The opposing voice in my head continues to sulk at having been denied, but it will fade away. If it decides to be stubborn, alcohol should help to flush it away :)
The key point to all of this is that we have to learn to listen to Experience that has come with our Age. This is called Wisdom, and it is definitely something that we should take full advantage of.